I'm going green--well, sort of. No, I'm not suddenly buying into the hype. I'm not becoming a paranoid freak about the environment, and I'm not overreacting to recent studies. (All the things I've been accused of by a certain brother.) But I am making a commitment to being as green as I can. Here's the reasons why:
1. First and foremost, I'm a Christian. In Genesis, God told Adam that this world was his to care for. I believe that that charge of stewardship extends to us. We have beautiful oceans, lakes, trees, deserts, animals, plants, etc in this world that God gave to us. I don't believe that He intended for us to destroy it with harsh chemicals, litter, and pollution in the name of progress. Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that there isn't a time or place for progress. I'm not blaming past generations -- if it weren't for the industrial revolution then I wouldn't be typing on this laptop, sipping a glass of iced tea w/ my precious artificial sweetener, and listening to my kids sing along with Jack's Big Music Show. I'm grateful for the progress our race has made. But I still believe that we have a responsibility to keep the world we have as clean as possible.
2. I have recently read and heard about more and more studies that takes the autism link away from vaccinations (which I never acted on anyway) and ties them to the chemicals in our products. I'm not going to dramatically throw out all my products to buy new more natural ones. You wouldn't want me to suddenly switch to a regular deodorant from an antiperspirant, I promise. But I do want to slowly replace those products (personal and household) that I believe can make a big difference in my house and whose non-natural alternative isn't necessary. And through these replacements, I can reduce the chance of my children and future grandchildren being autistic. But it's not just the autism link. It's the fact that our children shouldn't have those extra chemicals in their bodies. Think about everything that's outside on the pavement -- feces, pesticides, car exhaust fumes, lead, insect poisons -- those all get brought into our homes and once on the carpet, they go into our children's mouths. Who wants that in their children??? Not I!
3. I'm cheap. There, I said it. Call me a penny-pincher or say that I learned a little too well from my mother (Bagga...hehe) or say that I'm getting carried away with getting my grocery bill down (I beg to differ)......I don't care. What I do care about is saving money. If I can create new habits and work with more natural cleaners and other products that are just as effective and less expensive, then I'm all for it! For example, my driveway is full of cracks. Those cracks have more grass in them than the front yard has grass. (How does that work, btw? I water the yard and not the driveway, but yet the driveway's grass grows and the yard's does not.) Chris kept telling me to go buy a bottle of Roundup. I didn't want to. I didn't want to spend the money and didn't want the product to drain into our water system. Recently KT (linked here and on the side) posted a recipe for a weedkiller that is absolutely free since I have all the ingredients in my home already. We're trying it as soon as the remnants of Fay have disappeared.
All that being said, I'm going as green as possible, one step at a time. And I'm going to share what I'm doing with you each step of the way. I considered setting up a third blog, but this is my family blog and this is an important step for my family so this information stays here.
Here are the ideas and decisions that I've collected/made over the last few weeks:
1. I'm moving more towards cloth diapers. I started this because $200-300 a month for disposables was killing my budget. Kairi breaks out easily with all diapers, so I've left her in the Pampers Baby Dry b/c they affect her the least, but hopefully when we can afford better cd's (cloth diapers) then that rash won't come back. But in the meantime, I've been putting Alex in cd's during the day and leaving the disposables for nighttime, nap time, and church. I think that when I have enough of the good cd's for all of it, that we'll make it a permanent switch, but in the meantime, this is a good move for us.
~ Less diapers in the landfills. (Takes 5,000 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.)
~ Fewer chemicals to irritate skin and bother my children.
~ MUCH cheaper! Once you get over the initial investment, no more spending money on diapers! For our family that's a $200-300 break a month!
I've settled on bumGenius diapers because they're also sold at Target and one size fits both my babies.
2. I have a compulsion to disinfect all my dishes and kids' toys on a regular basis. At first, I used a dish soap with a disinfectant, but they all are "orange" and the citric acid leaves rashes on my hands and arms after extended use. So I started buying Palmolive's Green Apple and adding a touch of bleach. I discontinued the bleach b/c it is so harsh and because even Satin Hands could not combat my washing dishes 4-7 times a day in bleach after about 2 weeks. Then I remembered that I had some Lysol 3-in-1 disinfectant. I started adding a capful of that to my dish water. But again, the thought of all those chemicals started to bother me. So today while on the phone with my mother-in-law I looked up a green disinfectant. I'm going to have to buy some ingredients for this, but nothing that I would mind having in my house as it is.
Easy Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe
2 Cups of apple cider or white vinegar
4 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers
4 Tbsp. dried rosemary
4 Tbsp. dried thyme
4 Tbsp. dried sage
4 Tbsp. dried peppermint
Combine all the ingredients and seal tightly in a glass jar. Place the jar in a warm, dark cupboard for four weeks, shaking occasionally.
How to Use Four Thieves Vinegar
This mixture can be strained, cut with equal parts water, and decanted into a spray bottle. It is particularly good for use as a topical disinfectant around pet feeding areas, countertops, wood laminate floors, outdoor seating areas, and washable surfaces near where children play. Special note: If you are using herbs fresh from your garden, triple the amount specified in the recipe.
3. And here's a 2 in 1. Chris and I have decided to cut the plants against one of our fences waaaaaaaaay back. Then we're going to dig up a good portion of the yard next to that fence and section it off with lattice panels. We're going to plant a garden! We'll grow winterish vegetables this fall, but remembering that we live in Florida, I bet we can have some warm weather plants as well. We're also going to build a bin in the corner of the garden to use as a compost pile. I feel guilty every time I through away something that could easily decompose and make great soil -- call it brainwashing by my mother if you wish, but I can't spend the money on potting soil in good conscious when I know that I have plenty of supplies to make my own in my own refrigerator.
And as a sidenote, since our backyard is small and therefore our garden will be as well, we're going to use one of the front flowerbeds as a place for tomatoes, onions, garlic, and possibly peppers.
We're also making other changes, but I have written more than enough this time around and my children might kill each other if I don't go pry the girl off the boy. :)